Blog Archive

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Where did this obsession with gender theology come from?

Well it has been pressed upon me to actually start to do some more serious research and develop a more in depth and clarified position on what I believe about gender roles, marriage/family roles, and the general relationship between men and women.  From what I understand at the current time, this is an issue where, on the whole, I agree with the conservative movement for "traditional gender roles".  However, I do not necessarily endorse the extreme positions of some involved, and I also believe that the dominant focus on the differences of the roles, albeit true, misses the dominant focus of scripture when it comes to the issue of marriage and gender relations.

As I planned on plowing through this post tonight, I realized that there are many different things to focus on and so I decided to divide my thoughts into a blog series.  I will provide a brief summary of my position below followed by a list of future entries divided topically that I will work on over a period of time.  If in the future I see more points to address, I will add more entries to this series as I go.

I will start by summing up what I do believe.  I believe than both men and women are created in the image of God, have equal value before God, and should be honored and respected equally by men as they are both image-bearers of God.  I believe that both male and female have equal standings before God.  I believe that there are specific roles and responsibilities clearly established in scripture pertaining to the duties and function of both men and women.  I believe there are scriptures that harmonize the genders with a common purpose and also those that explain the distinctive nature of both genders with a complementary purpose.  I believe that the fall tainted and created a perversion of the original complementary design and created sin and rivalry between each gender.  I believe that both leadership and submission have been grossly perverted and abused throughout human history.  I believe that the submission and subjection has a very narrow scope and is limited to the union of marriage.  I believe that all bodies of government (from civil to ecclesiastical to familial) have the same structure and expectations of who leads and how they lead.  I believe that God is the only unquestionable authority deserving of absolute obedience and submission on all issues.  I believe each member of each body of government will be ultimately responsible to God for their actions and failures in submission.

Now to state briefly what I do not believe.  I do not believe that either males nor females are more loved or valued by God than the other, and so neither should be treated with with prejudice, disdain or excluded from any honor bestowed on humanity by our God.  I do not believe that either leadership or submission is properly understood by the natural mind and that neither is easy to rightly practice as a consequence.  I do not believe that difficulty in understanding ultimately prevents understanding and  do not believe that it prohibits the right practice of leadership or submission.  I do not believe there is any confusion or contradiction between having common and complementary aspects to each gender.  I do not believe that leadership must be domineering nor that submission must be oppressive.  I do not believe that men can function properly without women, nor women without men.

I'm sure as I think through this, there will be more things that I can add to each list, but that is my introduction to the positive and negative aspects of what I believe scripture teaches, and the historical and faithful church has always taught.  I will try to explain each point more in depth in this series but there is my summary.  Please bear with me if you follow this as I am doing my best to be true to the testimony of scripture and be an objective student of history and the present state of American society.  Here are my projected topics for future posts.
  • A scriptural identity of men and women.
  • A scriptural focus on marriage.
  • A scriptural presentation of genders in a broad view of social structures.
  • A commentary on the lives of the prominent women from scripture.
  • A commentary on the symbolism of marriage and the union of Christ and His bride.
  • A commentary on the rise of the "traditional gender roles" movement.
  • An overview of the historical churches view on genders and the union of marriage.


  1. Things you must face:

    Where in scriptures does it mention anything about male "leadership."

    The very nature of leadership, especially concerning Mark 10:42-45, "You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you."

    In fact, while you're looking at leadership, look through the whole gospel of Mark at every situation Christ is in as they relate to power. Mark 10 itself has 5 examples of Jesus challenging the established institutions of power.

    And then pay attention to "power under" instead of "power over." For the Church is not called to have power over but to have power under, and the same is true of every relationship given as an example in the New Testament, esp. 1 Peter.

  2. Indeed. I look forward to potential dialogue with you on this Steve. I'm slowly trying to get one of these posts done, but this series will probably be spread over time, as I am trying to be as thoughtful and honest as I can be, and in part that means actually seeking out and reading egalitarian interpretations of text so I can engage them honestly.

    Anyway, that being said, looking forward to your thoughts on what I write, as well as a few others if they choose to engage this. In the end, I know with you and those friends I hope respond, while we may disagree on the details and outworking of how we put scripture into practice, but I have no doubt doubt we all seek to serve our God, love our neighbor, edify to body, and try to correct inexcusable abuses that have been justified through the church. No one with their head on straight can say women were treated with love honor and respect for much of the churches history. Anyway, I hope to have the first of these posts up soon.